Coca-Cola Takes Rewards Program To Cashless Pay, Vending Machines

AUSTIN, TEXAS: Coca-Cola will introduce IOS and Android in their respective "native services" in spring 2016 that allow consumers to earn rewards points for free drinks and perks through its vending machines. The company views them as worldwide retail stores that aggregate data on a variety of consumer actions.

Derek Myers, group director, strategy and commercialization, Coca-Cola North America, told attendees at the OMMA SXSW at South By Southwest Interactive that the loyalty program will allow the brand to identify the consumer, the type of drink, and the location in which the purchase is made.

The data would become available for remarketing a variety of its products.

The rewards program is not new, but now the integration will allow consumers to make cashless purchases using native services already available on the phone and earn points through its vending machines.

Overall, Coca-Cola's machines collect more than 100 points of data every second, Myers said, including time of day. 

“We moved quickly to understand the potential of the Internet of Things and found that though we had many signals, we had to find a better way to connect and interpret the information," Myers says. 

The "smart connected fleet" calls home once daily with inventory numbers and payments. The machines also provide a digital content and connected platform.

Personalizing interaction between consumers and the vending machine has become important. Coca-Cola uses what Myers calls "occasion-based marketing." Using IoT the screen on the machine can deliver personal messages to the consumer while standing in front of the machine.

Finding experts to work with the technology has become key. "We beaconed the heck out of our assets in the world, but we didn't have a strong eye on how to connect everything," he said, reminding attendees not to forget the connection point.

Privacy and security has also become important, as well as the decision to incorporate social and other types of data or customer data, like inventory data, added Deon Newman, vice president, marketing, IBM Watson Internet of Things.





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